Laura Desmond, the CEO of Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group, and one of the most powerful media execs on Madison Avenue, reportedly has emerged as a candidate for the CEO job at Yahoo. According to the Wall Street Journal's All Things D website, Desmond is among a new short list of candidates for the job, which has been vacant since September when the company ousted Carol Bartz.
The rumor could not be confirmed at presstime, but if true, it would mark the second top VivaKi executive to go into play in only a matter of weeks, following Digitas CEO Larua Lang's move to CEO of Time Inc. Lang starts her new job Jan. 2.
It could also put Desmond in the running with another former top VivaKi executive, David Kenny, the former head of Digitas and VivaKi who recently stepped down from Akamai, and is also a member of the Yahoo board.
Other new candidates that have emerged for the Yahoo job reportedly include former Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell and former Doubleclick CEO David Rosenblatt. They join a previously identified list that includes another former Madison Avenue connnection, aQuantive's and Microsoft's Brian McAndrews, and Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.
Executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles has been retained by Yahoo! to help in the recruitment process.
“While certainly a dark horse, Desmond has been queried by Heidrick,” the All Things D's Kara Swisher wrote, citing unnamed sources. She added, "Well-known in Yahoo’s key market, she is considered a savvy and smart exec with a wry sense of humor."
SMG officials weren’t available for comment about the All Things D report.